Textbook Success for Students’ Charity Drive


Students at IT Sligo have been turning classroom theory into hard cash for charity.
Since September, 30 marketing students have helped raise €25,386 for six charities in the North West by working with them and making practical use of their degree-course skills.boxing PR class organisers

As part of their degree  programme, under gradates in Marketing, PR and Event Management work with chosen charities over a three month period during their final year’s study.

This semester’s fundraising tally brings to a staggering €69,386 the total that the IT Sligo students been involved in raising over the past five years.

“Charities are over the moon about getting help like this,” says Tourism and Event Management Lecturer, Joanna Sweeney. “At the moment, charities are struggling. The government is cutting funding. The charity sector is reliant on fundraising events, that’s the way things are going.”

Often targeting other students and in the process raising an individual charity’s profile and mission among the wider student community, the 30 students – in six groups of five — threw themselves in a series of quirky, off-the-wall ventures.

They included glamour nights, ceilis, tag rugby, waxathons, music events and a fundraising boxing challenge.

Joanna Sweeney says: “The students apply a  whole range of marketing knowledge – from coming up with the idea  to publicising the event and organising and managing it, doing the advertising and publicity and building social media awareness. In return, they get enormous practical experience that I hope will be helpful to any of them who go on to take up a career in social entrepreneurship.

“This is a hands-on module in non-profit marketing which, as well as being a stepping stone to getting their Bachelor of Business degrees, aims to equip the students with the skills to work in the non-profit sector.”

The biggest slice of this semester’s total €25k was nearly €21k, which the Irish Heart Foundation’s raised in its “Big Heart Fight Night” held at the Radisson Hotel in Sligo in November.  Styled as a fundraising boxing challenge, each participant had to raise sponsorship and sell tickets to the fight night and in return they received an 8 week course in the basics of boxing and the honour of competing in their own boxing bout on the night.

The students had a key part in the venture’s collaborative success by taking on a leading marketing role for the varied elements of the event.

David Muldoon, the Irish Heart Foundation’s fund-raiser in the North West said: “Sincere thanks go to all the IT Sligo students who put their hearts and souls into this fantastic event in aid of our charity. These are tough times and events like this are vital to help the Irish Heart Foundation continue its work so people living with heart disease and stroke get the support they need all year round.

“Together we are fighting the biggest cause of death in this country and together we help save more lives. The Big Heart Fight Night Sligo would not have been the success it was without the involvement of these fantastic students and I’m sure the practical experience will stand to them.”

The charities that benefitted from the students’ volunteer work this semester were; Cormac McAllenan Trust (€500): Hospice (€1187); Irish Heart Foundation (€20,812); Irish Wheelchair Association (€975); Ms Centre (€1000); One Life (€893).

Caption for photo above: Pictured are Jennifer Holland (student), Patrick Kilcoyne (Boxing Coach), Natasha Reilly (student), Emer Cryan (student),  Megan Mahon (student),  Joanna Sweeney (Tourism and Event Management lecturer), David Muldoon (Irish Heart Foundation) and Gary Mahon (student).